Hypochondriac (2022) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

Hypochondriac (2022) Review

Horrorific content by christina on July 14th, 2022 | Movie Review | Mind Bender, Phobia, Psychological, Medical, Thriller, Body Horror

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It's about a gay potter whose struggles with mental illness are continually dismissed by doctors even as the effects of his unaddressed childhood trauma grow increasingly worse.

Hypochondriac was directed by Addison Heimann and stars Zach VillaDevon Graye (13 Sins, Husk, and Scar), Madeline Zima (The Collector), Chris DoubekMarlene Forte (Night Teeth), Paget Brewster (Sublime), Adam Busch (Allegoria, Dave Made A Maze, and Are You Scared 2), Michael Cassidy (Night Of The Living Deb), Peter Mensah, and Debra Wilson.

Hypochondriac (2022) Review

We've all been there: feeling a weird pain, letting stress take over, Googling it, and then convincing ourselves we're about to die of cancer. One of the doctors in Hypochondriac even warns against Googling your symptoms. What if the line between what's real and what's imagined becomes more and more unclear? That's the central conflict of "Hypochondriac," which was shown at this year's Overlook Film Festival.

This film is likely to unnerve viewers while watching it and leave a lingering feeling of unease long after it's over. It's sure to provoke strong reactions from different people. Viewers should note that because it deals with realistically taboo subjects, it can be very triggering for some individuals - especially those who consider themselves hypochondriacs.

Hypochondriac offers a scary ride with spooky sequences and some disturbing gore for those who can handle it. Hypochondriac is a film that reminds us of other movies like Donnie Darko and Horse Girl.

This level of realism in depicting mental illness is both a strength and a weakness. It is one of the most accurate portrayals I've seen, but it is also so real that it makes me very uncomfortable. I have witnessed similar situations to those depicted in the film, which makes it all the more upsetting. The film is a bit too heavy-handed for the subject it handles, but that's hardly a detractor.

Some might say that the central relationship between the main character and his new boyfriend is not essential to the story, but I strongly disagree. Being a member of the LGBTQ+ community can be incredibly stressful, as queer individuals are more likely to experience mental health problems than those who identify as straight. The issues that Hypochondriac alludes to most often originate from unaddressed childhood trauma that young people too frequently have to deal with on their own.

The director, who is queer himself, has said that his goal is to empower queer characters in genres where they are severely lacking. I believe he was successful in his debut, with a well-written script that realistically portrays non-straight people. In addition, the camera work in the production is excellent, with clear direction and sometimes getting into creative and surreal sequences that showcase the state of the main character's mind.

Villa's performance is excellent, convincingly depicting the character's challenges in a relatable way without demonizing or trivializing his experiences. There is even a hallucinatory scene with excellent camera work and action where our lead is having a good time. Still, following a slightly concerning phone call, his trip turns into fear and paranoia.

The sound design and editing are top-notch, skilled at finding creative ways to communicate text conversations on the screen. There are several downright eerie and unsettling sequences scattered throughout this film. It's a "fun" watch for anyone, regardless of how they feel about mental health horror movies.

Worth Watching? 

Although the film's beginning is slow, the story quickly picks up and becomes quite violent near the end. Hypochondriac makes us think about the feelings of isolation that come with mental health issues and how frustrating it can be when medical professionals don't have the answers or compassion that we need.

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